JEFFERSON CITY — The Bad: Trade Aid: Missouri Corn Growers Association President Kyle Kirby, a farmer from Barton County, released the following media statement after President Trump’s trade mitigation details were released. In the announcement, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) sets the payment to corn farmers at one cent per bushel based on 2018 production numbers.
“The details released in the trade mitigation plan kick Missouri corn farmers when we’re already down.
“According to an analysis commissioned by the National Corn Growers Association and provided to USDA and the Office of Management and Budget, trade disputes have lowered corn prices by 44 cents per bushel for the 2018 corn crop. For USDA to allocate a penny per bushel is a slap in the face to every farmer who watched the corn market plummet as trade relations deteriorated.
“Adding further insult to injury, the one penny per bushel payment will be calculated using 2018 production numbers. For some growers in our state, that number is easily calculated when the production number is zero. Our elected officials in D.C., went to bat for Missouri corn farmers, asking payments to be based on historic yields. While we applaud the work of our Congressional delegation, there is no justification for USDA’s decision to ignore corn farmers as casualties in these trade wars.
“Missouri’s corn farmers are calling for this administration to fairly compensate for losses caused by trade disputes, negotiate trade agreements with new countries, reallocate the unprecedented Renewable Fuel Standard waivers doled out to highly profitable oil companies and grant RVP relief on higher blends of corn-based biofuels. The administration needs to do what’s right.”
The Good: NAFTA: In a bit of positive trade news, it appears NAFTA may be coming together. The U.S. and Mexico were able to overcome several key areas of contention to come to a final agreement. It is encouraging to see full market access for corn farmers has been maintained while also improving on several areas of the agreement. This agreement did spur Canada to come back to the negotiating table, but several big issues such as the dairy provisions remain. We hope issues with Canada can be resolved to move NAFTA 2.0 across the finish line.
The Unknown: Ethanol: While action is being taken for better or for worse on trade aid and the farm bill, ethanol issues remain up in the air. Despite corn growers and ethanol supporters calling for RVP relief for months, and positive rhetoric from both the president and USDA Secretary Perdue, no real progress can be seen at the pump. With menial support on trade aid for growers, ethanol is one area action can be taken to help boost corn markets. Missouri Corn, alongside other corn and ethanol groups, continues to put pressure on the administration to protect RFS levels, provide RVP relief at the pump and remove small oil refinery waivers from the table. We’ll keep you posted as these issues continue to boil.
— Missouri Corn
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